Seattle Mariners (68-58) at Boston Red Sox (56-71)
Friday, August 22 - 7:10 PM EST
Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts
One American League West postseason contender just got finished improving its position at the expense of the Boston Red Sox, and the Seattle Mariners are poised to do the same. The Mariners will visit the Red Sox for the beginning of a three-game series on Friday. Seattle sits a half-game behind the Detroit Tigers in the race for the second AL wild-card spot and is 3-3 on its nine-game road trip that included a series win in Detroit.
Boston lost all four games to the West-leading Los Angeles Angels and has dropped five straight overall to fall to 2-6 on its 11-game homestand. The Red Sox managed one hit in Thursday’s 2-0 setback and have totaled nine runs in the last five games. The Mariners are not exactly an offensive juggernaut, either, but lead the majors in team ERA (2.93), WHIP (1.13) and batting average against (.225) and have not allowed more than four runs in a game since a 6-5 win at Cleveland on July 31.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, ROOT (Seattle), NESN (Boston)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Mariners RH Felix Hernandez (13-4, 1.99 ERA) vs. Red Sox RH Joe Kelly (2-3, 4.67)
Hernandez was hit in the hip with a comebacker at Detroit on Saturday and left after five innings, ending a string of 16 straight starts with at least seven innings pitched and two or fewer earned runs allowed. The Cy Young frontrunner, who yielded two runs to the Tigers and suffered the loss, has issued a total of three walks in his last five starts. Hernandez has always had success against Boston and owns an 8-2 record with a 2.97 ERA in 15 career starts against the Red Sox.
Kelly ran into his first spot of trouble since joining Boston on Sunday, when he was reached for seven runs in four innings to suffer a loss against Houston. The former Cardinal issued six walks in that turn and has allowed 13 free passes in 17 innings with the Red Sox. Kelly has never faced Seattle, and that beating against the Astros marked his first start against an AL opponent this season.
1. Red Sox 1B Mike Napoli (back spasms) has missed the last two games and is day-to-day.
2. Seattle OF Dustin Ackley (back) missed Wednesday’s game but is expected back Friday.
3. Boston is reportedly one of the leading candidates to land Cuban OF Rusney Castillo.
PREDICTION: Mariners 4, Red Sox 0